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The benefits of using VMXNet 3 ?

Posted on 2011-03-01
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Hi,
 
In my current ESX datacenter deployment I noticed that my predecessor deployed VMs with various type of Network card, some of them with e1000, VMXnet 2 and only few with Enhanced VMXNet 3, I still don't know what is the reason, is it because of the HA / VMotion issue ?
 
So if I upgrade them all using VMXnet 3 would all of them get performance gain especially when the VM is on the same host eg. DB server and application server ?
 
any thoughts or comment of why we need to upgrade or not to VMXNet 3 ?
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Question by:jjoz
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by:robocat
ID: 35006978

Always use the most recent version of the available NIC driver for optimal performance. Through the years VMWare has optimised these drivers and solved lots of bugs.

Don't know if you'll see a big performance gain, you might or you might not.

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by:coolsport00
coolsport00 earned 125 total points
ID: 35007004
See KB that explains VMXNet 3: http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1001805

Hope that helps.

Regards,
~coolsport00

p.s. To specifically answer your question - it 'may' give you performance enhancement statistically, but you (or your users) may not notice it on the front end. It would just be something for you to test out.
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by:chkdsk01
chkdsk01 earned 125 total points
ID: 35007181
Here's a link to the VMXNET3 performance document.
www.vmware.com/pdf/vsp_4_vmxnet3_perf.pdf 

In a nutshel, it has the potential to offer better performance as well as less overhead on the ESX/i host.
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 125 total points
ID: 35008978
On "paper", the VMXNET3 is supposed to give you more performance, is it worth the effort of changing in all your VMs for the added performance - I don't believe so, buit building a new VM from scratch, it's probably recommended you use it.

If you can provided real world statistics, it performs better over the E1000 or VMXNET2, I'll buy somebody a jam donought! (I mean your proven statistics, not someone elses URL!), personally I've not seen it, and wouldn't go to the trouble of changing all the VMs, unless I had an issue with them.
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by:coolsport00
ID: 35008997
Not an iPad??? :P
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by:robocat
ID: 35009386

It is simply good practice to update your VMWare tools and all drivers after any ESX upgrade, if only from a bug perspective. It will save you a lot of time chasing problems you would never have had in the first place.

Performance benefits, if any, come free.
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by:
jimmyray7 earned 125 total points
ID: 35009570
In addition to the performance gains, VMXNET3 is now fully supported for FT virtual machines in 4.1.   I have noticed that VMXNET3 uses less host CPU resources, but that's not usually a huge bottleneck in my environment.

I agree with the others, use VMXNET3 on new VMs, but it's probably not worth the trouble to replace the NICs on existing E1000 VMs.  You may see a benefit moving away from VMXNET2, just because of the bug fixes and enhancements made in the last few years.
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by:jjoz
ID: 35012561
many thanks for your reply mate.
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